The 92nd Skeptics’ Circle

Natural born atheists

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The latest Skeptics’ Circle is now up at The Lay Scientist. Among the articles there, you’ll see one by The Skeptic Dad. Dad rips apart a flawed study that purports to show that we are all born believing in God.

8 Responses to “The 92nd Skeptics’ Circle”

  1. Sue Blue Says:

    So, based on the logic in that study, children must also be born with political preferences, taste in music, belief in Santa Claus and evil monkeys in their closets, not to mention being a cat person or a dog person from the moment they peek out of the vag. What a tool this Petrovich woman is. I was under the impression that the theories current in psychology and sociology are that perception, beliefs, and values are all learned, imposed on the child by his or her social environment. Has this woman had some sort of revelation?

  2. Patches Says:

    A child of the age of three likely does not yet have the congnitive ability to understand a “none of the above” option. At that age, they’re still naiively trustworthy and assume that the correct answer MUST exist within the explicit options given (which would explain why “I don’t know” got so few votes). Therefore, since one of the options is obviously wrong, they’re always going to gravitate towards the less obviously-wrong (and more fun-sounding) option.

    I mean, has this woman never watched “Kids Say the Darndest Things”? When pressed with a question they don’t know the answer to, a child will not say “I don’t know”, they will make something up. I think the poster is on to something when he suggests redoing the study with more options like “Flying Spaghetti Monster” or “The cosmic egg” or “Aliens” to see if the children really were chosing “God” out of inborn faith, or because it was simply the only option available.

  3. LadyRavana Says:

    My answer: The Flying Spaghetti Monster!

  4. Lindsay Says:

    Until my mother got married when I was 6 (I was one of those kids fundies dreaded most…the spawn of a single, teenage mother), I had never stepped foot in a church. My grandma like to watch Billy Graham but she never went, and basically everyone else in the family was non-religious. Though I don’t remember a whole lot in my life before this point, I don’t ever remember being taught about Jesus, God or the creation story.

    So my step dad was Catholic (in name only really) and my mom converted. So after their marriage they decided to enroll me in Sunday catechism. It was interesting that they even bothered since most mornings my step dad would drop me off at the school, I’d have class for an hour and then he would come and pick me up and go home and go back to bed. Therefore I took the classes but it was never really reinforced by my parents.

    Aside from the first year where I had a nun that made us memorize prayers, Sunday catechism was taught by younger couples who never really made us do much. Even our catechism books were a bit of a joke…mainly they were filled with crossword puzzles and word finds.

    So from my experience, I was conditioned not to really believe in God or Jesus or the Catholic dogma.

    So this makes me ask…I know some of you on this blog have stated that you grew up in a fundie household and you later became atheist. Did you feel that in your youth you truly believed and only rejected it later, or was it an inherent trait since your youth that fully bloomed later on in life?

  5. Parrotlover77 Says:

    I believe mine was an inherent trait. I always harbored doubt, I just didn’t have any real answers until later in life that explained things better than goddidit. I was certainly a True Believer (TM) early in life, but the doubts were always there — things just didn’t add up! I remember the biggest question I always had even as far back as around 2nd/3rd grade was… How the heck are we all related to Adam and Eve? Where did people of color come from? (Because, of course, Adam and Eve are always depicted as extremely white.) Afterall, inbreeding leads to disease (I even knew that much back then). It never made any sense to me.

    I can’t remember the years of my youth as young as those in the survery (can anybody remember their 2nd/3rd year of life?), so I can’t swear that I was born with absolute belief in God. But I also can’t swear there isn’t that famous teapot in space. So that’s irrelevant.

    I can reasonably assert that children are overwhelmingly taught very simplistic answers to most questions when they are very young. Unless one is atheist (a very small population), chances are a parent will answer the toddler’s question of “Where did the sky come from?” with the response “God” than anything else. So what else would the toddler’s response be to the study?

  6. Barbara Says:

    I was raised by a then-Catholic mom and an agnostic father. I went to Catholic school for 12 years, and never really got angry at religion, (something a lot of people tend to accuse atheists of) just never really accepted any of the dogma, even though I always wrote JMJ on the top of my papers at school. wore my little scapular (to be cool you had to have a bit of the black cord showing) and collected saint cards. I did tend to be the one person who would ask a lot of questions of religion teachers in school. At a high school level, I managed to piss off the lay religion teachers and actually engage several priests in very intelligent debates and discussions. I have a lot of respect for many of the priests and especially nuns who taught me, they truly believed in what they were doing and just wanted to be good teachers and role models for kids. One nun turned me on to American folk music (Pete Seeger, etc.) and social injustice and one priest encouraged me to continue to challenge people and ask questions, so my experience was good for the most part.

    I just never bought into the belief system and just came to the conclusion that I did not believe in ANY religious dogma, and it was very cathartic to “come out” and announce I was an atheist.

  7. S. Says:

    That’s great you respected them and also challenged in respectful,intelligent ways…I have a friend who went to Catholic school…she put red dye in the Nun’s wash, threw a can of hairspray at the furnace and blew it up..amongst other things!

  8. Sue Blue Says:

    I think I’m a genetically-inclined doubter. I can’t remember a time when I ever believed in Santa Claus, for instance, even when my parents were doing their level best to make ol’ Saint Nick seem real. And I constantly got into trouble in church for asking questions and pointing out the nasty bits in the Bible. When I was a little older, my mom really got into this fundamental branch of her church. Their whole schtick was that you had to dress a certain way, not wear jewelry or makeup, and not eat certain foods or you would burn. It was really grim. Finally, I just couldn’t see the point in even pretending to be a good Christian anymore and I just said “screw it, life’s too short. I’m not wasting another minute on this crap”.

    I didn’t actually come right out and tell my family I was an atheist until last year, although they knew I was “having doubts”. They were always bringing up the whole prodigal son (daughter, in my case) story, sure that something would happen and I would realize the error of my ways. When I finally disabused them of this notion, and used the word “atheist” for the first time, all hell broke loose. I might have gotten a worse reaction if I’d told them I was a predatory pedophile with necrophiliac tendencies – not because of what the words mean, mind you, but because they are multisyllabic, scientific-sounding words, and therefore must be from the Devil. Now, what really gripes them is how happy I am. They are sure I am suffering Satanically-induced delusions – how can I be happy without Jeeeesus in my life? But I am!